Coming into Monday’s start with three career wins against the St. Louis Cardinals, Ian Kennedy fell short in the I-70 Series opener as the Kansas City Royals fell, 11-3.
Tossing more than 100 pitches for the second time this season on Tuesday, Kennedy dropped his second decision in August and fell to 4-8 on the season. Matched up against a quality start from St. Louis’s Carlos Martinez, Kennedy allowed six earned runs, six hits and five walks over six innings.
Kennedy battled through early challenges on Monday, allowing the lead baserunner in three of the first four frames. But he ran into more difficulties in the fourth inning, where the Cardinals scored six runs and capitalized on two walks and an Alcides Escobar error that could have resulted in a double play.
“He had a bad inning, but the rest of the game was actually pretty good,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “He got through the fifth and the sixth unscathed, but the fourth inning, command was off just enough.”
Kennedy’s performance was indicative of the obstacles he has faced throughout the season, as he spent more than two weeks on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and did not pick up a win until June 16. But the grind came with a strong July, where he tossed four quality starts and did not lose a game.
While working around these adjustments, Kennedy has built upon his strengths. Not only did he use the spacious Kauffman Stadium to his advantage to induce six fly ball outs, but he also limited St. Louis opponents to four hits on his fastball that topped 93 mph on Monday.
“Even when you’re in a funk, you’re trying to find different ways to get out of it,” Kennedy said. “It doesn’t matter if you have it that day or not, you’re going to go out and try to find a way to get it done.”
Kennedy’s only postseason appearance came following a 21-win campaign with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2011, in which he placed third in National League Cy Young voting. Although he may not reach these heights in 2017, another chance at postseason could come with the Royals currently tied for the second AL Wild Card spot.
“You’re trying to win no matter what,” Kennedy said when asked about postseason chances. “It doesn’t matter if it’s April or September, you’re trying to go out there and win every time.”
Kennedy will seek redemption in his next scheduled start will come at Guaranteed Rate Field this weekend against the Chicago White Sox. Jason Vargas, Trevor Cahill and Jason Hammel will follow Kennedy in the rotation for the final three games of the I-70 series against the St. Louis Cardinals.